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Athens News Agency: News in English, 05-07-27

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] PASOK leader pledges to reverse government's industrial relations bill when in power
  • [02] Greek Health minister unveils plans for restructuring health system
  • [03] Communist party decides to walk out of debate on industrial relations bill

  • [01] PASOK leader pledges to reverse government's industrial relations bill when in power

    The leader of main opposition PASOK George Papandreou on Wednesday repeated a pledge to reverse the industrial relations bill tabled by the government once his party is restored to power.

    Speaking during the first summer session of Parliament during the debate on the bill, Papandreou slammed the bill as failing to address the central problems of Greek businesses and stressed that labour flexibility could not be obtained at the expense of job security.

    According to Papandreou, enhancing the competitiveness of Greek businesses required investment in the workforce, in the quality of products and labour, on research and innovation. In addition, it also meant cutting down bureaucracy, promoting electronic government, increasing transparency and combatting corruption. He stressed that none of these issues were addressed in the measures envisaged by the government for labour market reform.

    PASOK's leader said the bill would simply encourage complacency among employers due to the temporary rise in profits by reducing the cost of labour and increase their dependence on the state.

    Employment Minister Panos Panagiotopoulos rejected Papandreou's criticism as "endless rhetoric" and a "political hypocrisy", claiming that the government's bill reinforced the eight-hour day and returned to an overtime pay system that had worked successfully for 25 years.

    [02] Greek Health minister unveils plans for restructuring health system

    Several millions of euros have been lost because the country's National Health System lacked proper organisation, Greek Health Minister Nikitas Kaklamanis said on Wednesday and vowed to work hard to improve this situation.

    Speaking to reporters, in a news conference, Kaklamanis said a total of around 3,000 workers in the health system were on the payroll despite not being eligible and stressed that 22 people working in the city of Patras were found to have either double salaries or were ineligible, a fact that cost the system 500,000 euros.

    The Greek minister said the system has not made an accurate record of hospital beds and stressed that state hospitals' debt to suppliers exceeded 3.0 billion euros by 2004. Kaklamanis said rescheduled debt was 2.5 billion euros and noted that final figures would be unveiled in the next two weeks, while he said that the Finance ministry has ordered payments totalling 2.65 billion euros by July 20.

    The Greek minister said the ministry planned to create a hospital register, a suppliers' register and an information data for all suppliers and hospitals participating in the health system. The plans also include setting up special inspection mechanisms and introducing cashflow management rules in hospitals with the aim to save around 115-130 million euros from a rescheduling of debts, another 120-150 million euros in the first two years from a more effective use of reserves and 160-180 million euros annually from a reduction in supply prices.

    [03] Communist party decides to walk out of debate on industrial relations bill

    The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) has chosen to walk out of the debate on the government's bill on industrial relations, rather than lend it legitimacy by staying to discuss it, KKE General Secretary Aleka Papariga announced in Parliament on Wednesday.

    Papariga slammed the bill as "sweeping away everything left behind by PASOK" and of returning industrial relations to conditions that existed in the 19th century and before.

    Employment Minister Panos Panagiotopoulos expressed his sorrow at KKE's departure but noted that "it is not possible to deal with the complex reality of the 21st century by using the tools and analysis of the 19th century".


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